F170. Contemplation in a World of Action: Thomas Merton in the 21st Century

Room 101 D&E, Level 1
Friday, April 10, 2015
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Reading and writing are inherently contemplative practices. 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, the most influential writer on Western spirituality of the 20th century. This panel of five writers will discuss Merton’s influence on our writing, teaching, and lives, as well as the place of contemplation in a world of action (the title is Merton’s). We will focus on the role and influence of contemplative practice in our writing and teaching.



Fenton Johnson is author of three novels as well as Geography of the Heart: A Memoir and Keeping Faith: A Skeptic's Journey among Christian and Buddhist Monks. He has received Guggenheim and NEA fellowships in fiction and nonfiction. He teaches at the University of Arizona and Spalding University.

Dianne Aprile teaches creative nonfiction at Spalding University's low-residency MFA in Writing. She is the author of books and poems and an editor of anthologies. She was a 2012 Artist Trust Fellow in literature in Washington and, as a journalist, she won a team Pulitzer Prize.

Maurice Manning’s most recent books are The Gone and the Going Away and The Rag-Picker’s Guide to Poetry, co-edited with Eleanor Wilner. A former Guggenheim fellow, Manning has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Gregory Wolfe is editor of Image and directs the low-residency MFA at Seattle Pacific University. He edits a literary imprint, Slant. His books include Beauty Will Save the World, Intruding Upon the Timeless, and The Operation of Grace. He has served as a judge for the National Book Awards.

Mary McDonald directs the writing center and writing across the curriculum program at Cleveland State University. Her book It Draws Me: The Art of Contemplation presents the spiritual heritages behind three types of contemplative art.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center